It really isn’t news that the highway MPG of a Corvette is among the most impressive aspects of the car, but how good is it? Sure, the EPA rates it as high as 29 MPG with a manual transmission, but how many miles can you squeeze in the real world?
Sometimes we may begrudge government agencies that require automakers to have an aggregate fuel economy average, but the upside is that this gives engineers a great opportunity to get creative. In Chevrolet’s case, the 460hp LT1 has direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, a cylinder deactivation system, and a super-deep overdrive gear (final-drive ratio was a 3.42). What you get in the end is a more efficient sports car, both in horsepower and frugality.
The folks at Popular Mechanics drove about 125 miles round-trip, setting the cruise control at 55 MPH with the windows up, the AC off, and the Drive mode in Eco. There was no wind present, and the temperature was in the balmy 60s. Do you think you could cruise at 1100 RPM in a 190 MPH-capable sports car without misbehaving? Yet even going uphill, the torquey Vette didn’t groan and demand a downshift.
Upon returning to where he started, the driver noted an average of 34 MPG at 53 MPH. For another manner of measurement, the driver filled up the tank, which showed 3.34 gallons had been used. With a little match, mileage was calculated at over 37 MPG.
Of course, these aren’t scientific measurements, but it goes to show you that the Corvette may be the best economy car for an American enthusiast.